There has been a lot of talk about Blu-Kote and lifetime egg withdrawal in the Facebook chicken groups, and much is misinformation. Personally, I believe someone is being malicious - seeing how far they can spread this falsehood.

Now that I've stated my belief, I'm going to stick to only facts about Blu-Kote. We should begin with the purpose and ingredients, as those are the basis of all research done on this product.

Blu-Kote is an antiseptic aerosol/spray/daub used to treat injuries. In birds, the blue color and flavor of the substance is a deterrent which prevents other birds from seeing the injury (it's dark blue), and if they peck it there is an unpleasant flavor. While I can't comment on the flavor, I have used Blu-Kote on injured birds and the other birds don't seem to bother the sprayed areas. Where a bird may have had an open wound being pecked by other birds in the flock, one spray of Blu-Kote and that injury seems to become invisible to the other birds.

The information regarding the composition of these products is found on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) prepared according to U.S. OSHA, CMA, ANSI, Canadian WHMIS regulations.

Blu-Kote Aerosol/Spray MSDS
Blu-Kote Dauber MSDS

The ingredients are as follows:

  • 9.1% sodium propionate (11.6 grams per bottle)
    • Antifungal
    • U.S. NLM datasheet:
      • Safety and Hazards: Irritant (skin, eye, respiratory)
      • Toxicity: Lethal dose (in rats) 5100 mg/kg. That is, 5.1 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight or 0.51% of body weight.
        • Assuming the lethal dose is equivalent in humans, a 45kg (100lb) person would need to drink 229.5 grams (19.7 128g bottles of Blu-Kote - 2/3 gallon)
        • Assuming the lethal does is equivalent in birds, a 283 gram quail would need to drink 1.44 grams (15.8 grams of Blu-Kote, more than 1/10th of a bottle)
        • Skin absorbtion rates are much lower
    • Other Uses:
      • Clinically, as a dusting powder to control fungal infections
  • 1% gentian violet (1.28 grams per bottle)
    • anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-helminithic, anti-trypanosomal, anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor
    • Gentian violet ((GV) hexamethyl pararosaniline, also known as crystal violet, methyl violet) is a triphenylmethane dye with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-helminithic, anti-trypanosomal, anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor properties.
    • US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health datasheet:
      • Toxicity of GV in humans is limited to case reports, trials involving the use of GV have shown no or very mild adverse effects and the FDA allows the sale of gentian violet over the counter.
  • 0.15% acriflavine (0.192 grams per bottle)
  • Base liquid
    • water
    • urea
    • glycerine
    • isopropyl alcohol

All 3 active ingredients are used in modern pharmacology (on humans). None are particularly deadly except in ridiculously high doses. I've been all over the FDA website looking for any warnings or notices regarding Blu-Kote and have found no such warning. In fact, here are all of the references to Blu-Kote on any government website:

No joke, it's mentioned once on any government website - and that is basically an info page regarding the packaging and ingredients.

My personal observations of Blu-Kote are generally positive. Other than turning feathers blue - basically forever (until they fall out), the product works as advertised. I've seen it work on both quail and chickens, and I assume it would work the same on other fowl but we have not needed to use it on our turkeys and we don't keep waterfowl. It works well keeping hens from pecking blood spots on each other, and we once used it on a quail that had been scalped by other quail (literally, no feathers on the head, just a raw, open wound covering the entire head). We sprayed the quail, put it in a separate cage for a few weeks and eventually the skin and feathers grew back. It was amazing. That quail continued as a layer for over a year before we retired her to a bacon-blanket and a warm climate.

If someone has a government published article with the egg-withdrawal information on it, I would love to see it.

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